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Friday, April 23, 2010

On the 235th Anniversary of the Battle of Lexington

by Christian L. Clingman

On this day, the morn of April 17, 1775, dating 235 years ago, a militia made up of independent Americans met a battalion of British soldiers. The American militia was made up of no more than 70 men, while the British battalion was made up of 1200 to 1500. The Americans were outnumbered 20 or 25 to 1.

General Gage had sent the British battalion to Concord, Massachusetts from Boston, the day before, resolving to destroy the military stores supporting American troops there. These troops were to land at a place called Lechmere’s Point. To carry this pivotal invasion, they had to leave under cover of night in boats. But their coming was not unknown.

Paul Revere had a friend sit in the North Church tower in the belfry with two lanterns. One signal was to stand as a sign that the British were coming by land, two meaning by the Sea. Stationed on the opposite shore, Paul Revere stood with his horse, staring at the belfry of North Church and awaiting the response. Concord was an important location.  With British troops beginning to invade America, Revere suspected that the British would target Concord, for such a place provided accessible provisions for all American troops. Thus, after some time passed, Revere saw a lantern unveiled, then two, as a sign that the British were coming by sea. Revere sped down the twisted roads of Massachusetts and to every man and household that he passed he cried, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” Passing by one of the houses was one of his friends, Pastor Jonas Clark.

The word spread quickly and the Minute Men of the Revolution left their homes and gathered together at Lexington that sat along the way to Concord, at 4:30 that morning. At first, the militia had gathered at the City of Cambridge, for they heard that the British would be passing there. But it was suspected that it was a feigned move by the enemy and that their point of movement had been directed to another place. So instead, the Minute Men gathered not far from the meetinghouse of Lexington. There they saw the troops of the British march up. Their red coats flapped in the slight breeze and their bright muskets were primed and loaded. As later on that day, Jonas Clark would title them properly as “Blood Thirsty Oppressors.” The officers of the battalion saw the small independent militia standing in their way with loaded muskets in their hands. Enraged by this defiance, the British commander demanded that the Minute Men lay down their arms and disperse. The British soldiers shouted a huzzah and charged towards the American band. One of the British officers pointed his sword towards the company and cried, “Fire! By God, Fire!” Hundreds of muskets discharged and eight Americans fell dead and ten were wounded but the rest of the American militia remained unharmed. In a little while, the British sent more rounds of fire and the militia was defeated. The British praised and gloried in this victory and continued on their march to Concord. Another militia made up of about 200 men, saw the oncoming British troops and retreated to cover. The British then took possession of the old North Bridge, left a guard there and took hold of the military stores. A body of the militia approached the British and attacked them. The British fired upon them and killed many. As to the events hereafter, Richard Frothingham recalls in his book, The Rise of the Republic.

“No mausoleum ever commanded such honor as Americans attach to the graves of these early martyrs to American liberty. This precious blood roused righteous indignation in the breasts of the yeomanry, who had been flocking in and stood with their old firelocks in their hands on that village green. They resolved to avenge the death of their brethren. Two hours after the firing at the bridge, the King’s troops began their march for Boston, when the militia fell upon them in such fiery spirit, and with such deadly effect, that the march soon turned into a run. The proud veterans were saved from total destruction by a reinforcement which left Boston in the morning and joined them at Lexington; and they found security only in the shelter of ships of war at nightfall, when by the light of the flashing musketry they entered Charlestown and rested on Bunker Hill.”

Now here is the point I want to make. All the above is a summary of the events before and after the Battle of Lexington. Here I would like to point out the courage of these men—our forefathers and foundations of our country. They, who though only few and knowing deeply that to rebel against a tyrannical power larger in military force than them would mean certain death. Facing against all odds, they stood in the way of tyranny that sought to expand beyond its own borders and to covet, steal, possess, and oppress the people of New England. These were indeed brave men.

Surely, you may recall the history of the 300 Spartans standing in the gap against a force made up of thousands upon thousands of Persians who sought to drive back and control the Kingdom of Greece. These Spartans were in a much like similar situation to that of the Independent American Forefathers who came together as a militia and stared back at the face of death. But the providence within these two events was much different altogether.

Many Spartans trained as warriors from their childhood, taken from their homes and parents. The Kingdom of Sparta was rich and powerful. They had been in existence just as long as the Kingdom of Greece and were developing into a powerful nation as the years passed. They knew how to fashion their weapons of defense and offense, plan effective battle tactics, do hand-to-hand combat, and practice stages in war with spear and shield. They were skilled not only in these weapons on land, but also by the weapons of the sea. They worshiped their gods and faithfully offered sacrifices to them. They had hundreds of years to reform old ways and to establish new laws in War and Civilization. And when faced by the great Persian army coming from the West, they killed hundreds before they themselves were killed.

Now look at the independent republic of America that had hardly passed its centennial anniversary. Many looked after the care of their families, learned the skill and trade of farming and commercial industries, and built up a life of love and prosperity, though not always a life of physical health. Few personally trained in the skill and practice of battle and warfare. Many families kept at least one musket in their house, but rarely used it in battle.  Rather they mostly used their muskets for hunting and for the odd few skirmishes with renegade Indians. The way of arms was clumsy for the most skilled man.  A musket could only fire two shots in a minute, and that was if one still stayed alive. This American militia, consisting in at the most of 70 men, stared at the oncoming force of 1500 British men. They had time to run. They had never been in a situation like this before and had never trained nor prepared for such an encounter. They had had hardly two days to prepare for this invasion and with no time to make plans of strategy. Instead of backing down, these Minute Men of the Revolution stared into the face of Death and Tyranny. They declared by their stance that they would not back down and let oppression tear through their land of freedom. They would stand to do what was right and not back down when the might of wrong and evil came towards them. They had the heart of David, the spirit of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and the mind of a William Wallace, when against all odds they showed that whether they lived or died, whether victorious or defeated, won or lost, they would never bow down to tyranny. They would rather lose and die for a righteous cause, than to live in shame and disgrace, and do nothing while Tyranny lay hold of their freedom. Against all odds, this ill-trained and ill-prepared independent American militia stood in the gap and faced head on against the British. They knew that those who were with them, though unseen, were more than that of their enemies.

Why did this nation win against the mighty odds of their enemies? Because they were on God’s side. If we are on God’s side, though we die and fall in the battle, He will, through us and using us, help us to win the War. Let us stand in the face of Death and Tyranny, against all oppression and Evil, against all odds and terrors, and declare each day that we will stand for Truth and Righteousness, and never, never will we submit to the World! We stand here today in the gap and though you kill us and though God chooses not to deliver us, we will never bow to the Golden Image of Wickedness!

Bibliography:
Jonas Clark, The Battle of Lexington: A Sermon and Eyewitness Narrative (Ventura, CA: Nordskog Publishing Inc., 2007).
Richard Frothingham, The Rise of the Republic of the United States (First Edition 1872 and republished many times).

Christian Clingman is the fourteen-year-old son of NPI sales and marketing coordinator, and NPI Advisory Council member Eugene Clingman. © 2010. Used with permission.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea Party Talk

by Jerry Newcombe

What makes America so special? Why is it that would-be immigrants literally risk their lives to try and get here? Some will risk their lives to leave Cuba, going through shark-infested waters to get here. But don’t they know they have free health care there? But seriously, why do people vote with their feet to try to get to this country? What makes the US so special? The answer has to do with one simple fact: our rights come from God. Period. That’s what our national birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, says. Even when America doesn’t live up to its creed that our Creator has endowed us with certain unalienable rights, it’s still a good creed. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his classic speech: “I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’"

Since our rights come from God, it’s not up to the state to determine if those rights are secure. What the state giveth, the state can taketh away. That is not true with God-given rights.

I believe that what is best about America gets back to our Judeo-Christian heritage. I don’t think there would be an America without the unique role the Bible played in the founding of our nation. Because America began as a Christian nation, people of all faiths or no faith are welcome here. Consider some of our founding fathers and their views on how God is the source of our liberty.

Here we are at a Tea Party meeting. The leader of the first tea party was Sam Adams---the lightning rod of the American Revolution. Without him, we might not have achieved independence, certainly not when we did. In a classic monograph, "The Rights of the Colonists," Adams wrote this: "The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, the rights of the Colonists as Christians may best be understood by reading and carefully studying the institutions of The Great Law Giver and the Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament."

Consider George Washington. In his farewell address, he noted: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of  patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.” When the Founding Fathers spoke of "religion," he is speaking of Christianity, in a nation which at the time was 99.8% Christian.

Think about John Adams our second president, who said, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Even the religiously liberal Thomas Jefferson  appealed to Jesus Christ ("the holy author of our religion") and His example as to how it is we have freedom, religious or otherwise. In 1786, he wrote: “Almighty God hath created the mind free…all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet choose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to exalt it by its influence on reason alone…” So, in other words, the state is not to interfere with the conscience. God leaves that up to the individual.

Even Ben Franklin, also non-orthodox in his views on Christianity, made a passionate plea during the Constitutional Convention for prayer. The whole convention almost shut down because of all their bickering, but then on June 28, 1787, Franklin, the eldest statesman present, called for prayer and a variation of his request was granted. He said in that speech, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth---that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel.”

When many of the founding fathers, especially ones from New England, like Paul Revere, John Hancock, learned their ABCs, they learned them from The New England Primer, which taught basic Biblical principles.
A
In Adam’s Fall,
We sinned all.
B
Thy life to mend,
The Bible tend.
C
Christ crucify’d,
For sinners died.
Why was Christ crucified? God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to conquer evil and to be the sacrifice needed to free us from the corrupting power of sin. Christ freed us and as liberated people, we become citizens of His kingdom and then live under His dominion for time and eternity. That was the view of the majority of the founders of this country, and it was a view that gave us liberty untold in the history of the world.

In closing, I want to remind us what Ronald Reagan once said, “America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” Thank you and may God bless America---with repentance and a Third Great Awakening.
______________________________

Jerry Newcombe is the author of The Book that Made America, available here.

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